The Lopsided Ape: Evolution of the Generative Mind

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9780195083521: The Lopsided Ape: Evolution of the Generative Mind

What is it that allows human beings to think the way we do? What enables us to communicate with one another through the use of speech? Is the difference between Homo sapiens and other apes simply a matter of degree or are we unique and discontinuous from other species? Michael C. Corballis argues that this century-old debate lies in the fact that humans are the only primates that are predominantly right-handed, a sign of the specialization of the left hemisphere of the brain for language. He attributes humans' unique abilities to a biological mechanism in the left hemisphere of the brain called a "generative learning device" or GAD. The GAD, Corballis contends, enables us to generate a limitless number of forms and meanings from a few parsed elements, providing the basis for language and manufacture as well as mathematics, reasoning, art, music, and play. Surveying the current views of evolution using evidence from archeology, linguistics, neurology, and genetics, Corballis takes us on a fascinating tour of the origins and implications of the structure of the human brain accounting for the dominance of humanity over all species.

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About the Author:


Michael Corballis is Professor of Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and is the author Human Laterality and other books.

Review:

"Corballis...tackles this immensely difficult and multifaceted subject in a lively and engaging way and presents his views crisply, thoughtfully, and always with a modesty and a touch of good humor. The Lopsided Ape is full of intellectual riches, and it deserves and, I hope, will find a wide
readership." --Science

"This complete, lucid presentation in the burgeoning field of cognitive psychology will be challenging but interesting to lay readers, and valuable to a broad group of scholars." --Library Journal

"A thoroughly intoxicating study...handsomely organized and clearly written." --Booklist

"Wide-ranging and erudite. . .An excellent read, enlivened by many anecdotes, historical details and jokes." --Nature

"A remarkable blend of erudition, clarity and humor. . .This book is compulsive reading." --The Times Higher Education Supplement

"The Lopsided Ape offers much to think about and Corballis provides a thorough review of the relevant literature." --Choice

"Opposing theories are presented with clarity and economy. The selection of research reports and helpful diagrams augment the usefulness of the work. . .provides an excellent overview of many current key issues in human and language origin theory, presents them in highly readable, jargon-free
prose and in a well-organized, logical format. The book should be of value not only to human and language evolution theorists but to specialists and nonspecialists concerned with understanding human 'nature' and behavior." --Language Origins Society (LOS) Forum

"Fun reading. From the wealth of his substantial scholarship, Corballis embeds the presentation of GAD within a framework of questions that are of enduring interest to most of us. The initial salvo is a fascinating history of human uniqueness. This volume constitutes a valuable, if not the
ultimate, contribution to this literature." --Contemporary Psychology

"Overall, the book is enjoyable and accessible reading for the nonspecialist and specialist alike, laced with interesting commentary on the history and cultural contexts of many of the topics covered." --International Journal of Primatology

"An excellent overview."--Alfred W. Kaszniak, University of Arizona

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